By Diego Meneses
The tradition of pin trading has become a fan-favorite off field activity at the Little League Baseball® World Series. Many of the people visiting Williamsport, Pa., come for the games and there also a large contingent visiting for pin trading. The premise is simple: people bring pins of all different shapes and sizes. They bring pins honoring their culture, hometown, favorite team, or that are just interesting to look at. Then they trade the pins they bring for pins others have.
This year, as in years past, Little League provides a tent on the Little League International Complex where fans can show off pins they have created and gather to trade some of the most unique Little League World Series pin memorabilia. At the tent, visitors can find people of all ages carrying bags full of pins ready to be traded with other fellow pin enthusiasts.
“Once the games are done, I head down to the pin trading tent,” said Eric Itnyre, an avid pin collector. “Pin trading is a very important part of the World Series and the kids enjoy it.”
There are many kinds of pins. Some of them are shaped as cleats, jerseys, masks, gloves, baseball fields and bats. However, there are also pins related to everything surrounding the World Series. Umpires, camera men, security guards, team hosts, and sponsors are just some of the people that make the pin trading at the World Series so unique.
“Every year, I make umpire pins because I believe they are a crucial part of the World Series and help make it a great event,” said David Byers, who has been coming to Williamsport for more than 15 years. “I believe pin trading has been around since the first time I came, and it has truly become a great tradition.”
Food pins are among the fan’s favorites because they highlight unique treats that can be found at the World Series every year. One of the most distinguishable is the funnel cake, which are remembered as a fan favorite year after year.
Some of the younger pin enthusiasts enjoy collecting movie and cartoon character pins. The Disney characters are some of the most distinguished ones, but in Williamsport, some are customized to match the Little League World Series spirit.
“I like collecting Disney princesses. This year, my mom made some with them holding a baseball bat and a glove,” said Lilly Turner, a young pin enthusiast. “I hope to come back every year to trade more pins and watch baseball games.”
Pin trading does not stop at the Little League pin trading tent. Collectors and aficionados can head into downtown Williamsport to various locations where they can find some of the most exclusive pins at the World Series.
One of the local hotels reserves a room during the World Series for all the pin collectors to come gather round and trade pins. The energy in the room is lively and pin traders are making deals as if they were trading at the stock market on Wall Street.
“I have been coming for 20 years and I enjoy it, everyone is having a great time,” said Dan DiStefano. “I drive down from Boston every year to watch some games and see friends I have met through pin trading.”
Pin trading is tradition in Williamsport, and can be as competitive as the games. Still, people enjoy the opportunity to mingle and meet people while swapping stories and pins.